Commercial Timbers

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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Mimusops elengi L. (bukal, tanjung)

Nomenclature etc. SAPOTACEAE. Trade and local names: Asian bulletwood (GB); bukal (FR); tanjung, karikis (RI); bitis, elengi, mengkula, nyatoh batu (MAL); betis, bansalagin, kabiki (RP); kaya (BUR); sa koun, pji koun (LAO); kun, kaeo phikun (T). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Description based on 9. Tree. Geographic distribution: Mediterranean incl. N. Africa and Middle East, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, and Indomalesia.

General. Growth ring boundaries indistinct or absent. Heartwood basically brown and red (heartwood dark reddish-brown), with streaks. Sapwood colour distinct from heartwood colour. Odour indistinct or absent. Density 0.78–1.12 g/cm³. Wood of commercial potential.

Vessels. Vessels present. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels arranged in no specific pattern, in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows and radial rows of 4 or more. Vessel outline rounded. Two distinct vessel diameter classes absent. Average tangential vessel diameter 100 µm; diameter of vessel lumina: medium and large. Average number of vessels/mm² (6–)20(–33); vessels per square millimetre few and moderately numerous. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 4–5 µm, small, not vestured. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders and with reduced borders or apparently simple, similar to intervessel pits and different from intervessel pits, rounded or angular and horizontal to vertical, of two distinct sizes or types in the same ray cell, of the same type in adjacent elements, located throughout the ray. Helical thickenings absent. Tyloses in vessels present, thinwalled and sclerotic. Other deposits in heartwood vessels not observed.

Tracheids and fibres. Vascular or vasicentric tracheids sporadic to absent. Fibres of medium wall thickness and very thick-walled. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered. Helical thickenings absent. Fibres non-septate.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma present, banded. Axial parenchyma bands not marginal (or seemingly marginal), reticulate, fine, up to three cells wide. Parenchyma bands wavy. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 4–8.

Rays. Rays present, 11–13 per tangential mm, exclusively uniseriate and multiseriate (also if only few), 1–2 cells wide. Rays with multiseriate portions as wide as uniseriate portions absent. Aggregate rays absent. Rays of one size. Height of large rays up to 500 µm (some rays higher than 500 µm). Rays composed of two or more cell types (heterocellular). Heterocellular rays with square and upright cells restricted to marginal rows and procumbent, square and upright cells mixed throughout the ray, mostly 1 marginal row of upright or square cells and mostly 2–4 marginal rows of upright or square cells. Sheath cells absent. Tile cells absent. Perforated ray cells absent. Disjunctive ray parenchyma end walls distinct and indistinct or absent.

Storied structures. Storied structure absent.

Secretory structures. Oil and mucilage cells absent. Intercellular canals absent. Laticifers or tanniniferous tubes absent.

Cambial variants. Included phloem absent. Other cambial variants absent.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals present or not observed (most specimens without crystals), prismatic, located in axial parenchyma cells. Crystal-containing axial parenchyma cells chambered. Number of crystals per cell or chamber one and more than one. Crystals in one cell or chamber of two distinct sizes. Crystal containing cells of normal size. Cystoliths absent. Silica present, as grains, in rays cells (silica occasionally also on axial parenchyma).

Physical and chemical tests. Heartwood not fluorescent. Water extract fluorescent (greenish); basically colourless to brown or shade of brown. Heartwood extractives leaching out when in contact with water. Ethanol extract not fluorescent. Colour of ethanol extract colourless to brown or shade of brown. Chrome azurol-S test negative. Froth test positive. Splinter burns to partial ash. Ash white to grey.

Illustrations. • Transverse section. Mimusops elengi. • Tangential section. Mimusops elengi. • Radial section. Mimusops elengi. • Silica in rays.


The interactive key allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, summaries of attributes within groups of taxa, and geographical distribution.

Cite this publication as: ‘Richter, H.G., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2000 onwards. Commercial timbers: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. In English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Version: 25th June 2009. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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